Child Abuse Policy and Procedure

child abuse

Together We Grow Learning & Childcare Centre provides services to children and their families, and therefore has roles and responsibilities with respect to child abuse and neglect. The Child and Family Services Act requires that everyone who has reasonable grounds to suspect that a child is in need of protection, shall immediately report the suspicion and the information on which it is based to Children's Aid. Further action will then be determined by Children's Aid. Together We Grow Learning & Childcare Centre will comply with this directive, as stated below.

Legal Requirements

A child is defined as a person from birth until her or his 16th birthday.

Duty to Report

In accordance with the Child and Family Services Act, it is the responsibility of every person in Ontario (including a person who performs professional or official duties with respect to children) to immediately report to the Children’s Aid Society if she/he suspects that child abuse has occurred or if a child is at risk of abuse. This includes any operator or employee of a daycare. An individual’s responsibility to report cannot be delegated to anyone else.

Failure to Report

It is an offence under the Child and Family Services Act for a professional to contravene one’s reporting responsibilities. The penalty imposed (a fine of up to $1,000) emphasizes that a child’s safety must take precedence over all other concerns.

Confidentiality

The duty to report suspicions of child abuse overrides the provisions of confidentiality in any other statue, specifically those provisions that would otherwise prohibit disclosure by a professional or official. The only exception to this is solicitor/client privilege.

Protection from Liability

All persons making a report of suspected child abuse are protected against civil action, unless that person is proven to have acted “…maliciously or without reasonable grounds for the belief or suspicion…”

The Day Nurseries Act

The Day Nurseries Act requires behaviour management policies and procedures be in place, which can be found on the Policy and procedure binder. It is also a requirement under this legislation that if a staff person is suspected of abusing a child, York Region Children’s Services will be notified within 24 hours, and a Serious Occurrence Report will be submitted.

Reporting Procedures

Any staff/student/volunteer who suspects that a child has been abused or is at risk for abuse should inform the Supervisor of the intention to immediately call the York RegionChildren’s Aid Society. York Region CAS contact :York Region Children's Aid Society: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Telephone: (905) 895-2318 or 1 (800) 718-3850

The person who suspects the abuse must make the call her/himself – do not ask anyone else to help you decide if a report should be made, or to make the report for you. Do not discuss your suspicions with anyone else until you have spoken with a Children’s Aid worker. If necessary, access immediate medical attention if a child has sustained injuries. Where the injuries were suspected to have been caused by child abuse, do not inform the parent of the intention to access medical care for the child until you have spoken with a Children’s Aid worker and have been directed to do so.

If there are any concerns or doubts regarding making a report of suspected abuse, the staff/student/volunteer will be encouraged by the Supervisor to consult with a worker from a Children’s Aid Society. If the allegation is against another child in the Centre, the Supervisor will consult with a Children’s Aid worker as to how to best protect, supervise and support both the alleged victim and abuser and other children. It is the responsibility of the person who suspects child abuse to follow through on the report to a Children’s Aid Society, and the Supervisor will provide support and direction. When making the report, give your name, the Centre’s name, your position and phone number to the Children’s Aid worker.

No staff/student/volunteer will advise someone not to report suspicions of child abuse, or to try to stop the person from reporting or consulting with a Children’s Aid Society. There will be no sanctions or reprimands for anyone who consults/reports suspicions of child abuse. However, disciplinary actions will result if there is an attempt to stop someone from following through on the legal duty to report.

If a staff/student/volunteer has any further suspicions of abuse, or new information with respect to a child, she/he must immediately make another report to the appropriate Children’s Aid Society, regardless of any previous reports.

Information considered confidential cannot be kept in confidence if it is related to a suspicion of child abuse – all staff/students/volunteers must follow through on the legal duty to report.

Making a Report of Suspected Child Abuse

Suspicions of child abuse must be reported immediately to a Children’s Aid Society. If the child’s religious affiliation is known with certainty, the report can be made directly to the society of the appropriate religious affiliation.

  • Children’s Aid Society
  • Catholic Children’s Aid Society
  • Jewish Family and Child Service
  • Native Child and Family Services

If the child’s religious or cultural affiliation is not known, or is neither Catholic, Jewish nor Native, the report can be made to a Children’s Aid Society.

All documentation is to be forwarded to the Supervisor to be kept secure in the office safe, locked away from the child’s general file.

What to Report to a Children’s Aid Society

The staff/student/volunteer making a report of suspected child abuse to a Children’s Aid Society may not have access to all the information listed below. If this is the case, do not conduct an investigation to search it out. Remember, it is imperative that the staff/student/volunteer report the information to a Children’s Aid Society as soon as possible.

The following is a list of information, if known, that the staff should be prepared to provide the Children’s Aid Society in making a report of child abuse. Information about the child(ren):

  • Identifying information (e.g., name and address of child, primary caregiver, the child’s religion).
  • Current whereabouts of the child/family.
  • Present physical and/or emotional conditions of the child.
  • Any special vulnerabilities, medical conditions, communication issues.
  • The name of the centre attended.

Circumstances which prompted the report:

  • What was it that led to the report being made today?
  • What are the sources of the information for the report?
  • What are the details regarding concerns or the incident which precipitated making the report today?
  • Do you know of any other relevant incident or have any other information?
  • What actions, if any, have you taken prior to reporting the matter to a Children’s Aid Society?

Information about the child’s family and alleged offender: 

  • Parents: names, dates of birth, addresses, telephone numbers, places of work. 
  • Alleged offender: name, date of birth. If not the parent, the alleged offender’s relationship to the child, address, phone number, place of work. 
  • Current whereabouts of the alleged offender. 
  • Does the alleged offender have access to the child, siblings or other children? 
  • What is the parents’ awareness of admission or reaction to the suspected abuse and the child’s disclosure? 
  • What is the language spoken by the parents, alleged offender? 
  • Are there any cultural considerations?
  • The name of the child’s/family’s physician.
  • Any concerns for family members with respect to mental health, physical illness, substance abuse, weapons and/or violence? 
  • Names and addresses of extended family members and others who could be supportive to the child and family.

Other Information:

  • Who else has direct knowledge of the incident being reported?
  • Who else may have observed the child or other incidents? 
  • Who else knows this family well? 
  • What other professionals or agencies may be involved with the child and family?

If a Staff/Student/Volunteer is Suspected of Child Abuse If a staff/student/volunteer/parent suspects another caregiver in the Centre of abusing a child(ren) in care, she/he should inform the Supervisor of the intention to call a Children’s Aid Society. If the allegations are made by a parent, inform the parent of her or his duty to report to a Children’s Aid Society, and the Supervisor obligation to speak with a child protection worker. The staff person with whom the parent spoke will immediately inform the Supervisor of the parent’s allegation. If the staff person suspected of abuse is the Supervisor, then the owner of the center will be informed.

The staff/student/volunteer making the allegation will follow the reporting procedure outlined above and will complete the necessary documentation.

The person suspected of abuse will not be told by anyone about the suspicion, the intention to report or that a report has been made until after the Supervisor has consulted with a Children’s Aid worker for direction.

The Supervisor will consult with a child protection worker as to what, if anything, should be done to protect a child(ren) at the Centre from further contact with the alleged abuser.

The Supervisor will notify York Region Children’s Services within 24 hours of the occurrence, and submit a Serious Occurrence Inquiry Report to Barrie Region: Fax (705) 812-5396 or 1 (855) 823-3313 or by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Supervisor will immediately notify the centers owner who, in consultation with the Supervisor, Children’s Aid Society and legal counsel will determine what action, if any, will be taken with respect to the suspected person’s job responsibilities.

The operator will immediately contact the Centre’s insurance company when abuse by a staff member is suspected.

The Supervisor will meet with the suspected person to discuss any procedures for a change in duties, responsibilities, etc. The Supervisor will follow-up with a written confirmation of any decisions and the reason for such, a copy of which is to be given to the suspected person, and a copy retained on file.

When the Children’s Aid Society/Police Conduct an Investigation in the Centre

When child abuse has been reported, the investigative team may request permission from Together We Grow Inc. to interview a child on the premises. All efforts will be made by staff to cooperate with the police/child protection worker in order for the investigation to be completed in such a way as to provide the least disruption to the day-to-day operations of the Centre.

If the authorities have told any staff/student/volunteer of the intention to come to the Centre, the Supervisor is to be notified immediately.

The Supervisor will arrange for an appropriate private location for the interview to be conducted. When the authorities arrive, the Supervisor will ask for identification upon their arrival.

If a Children’s Aid worker or police officer arrives unannounced, the Supervisor will ask for identification and call her or his respective office to confirm that she/he is a representative of a child protection or police service.

The police or child protection worker may determine that it would be in the best interests of the child to conduct an interview without the prior knowledge of and without the child’s parent(s) present. All staff involved must respect this decision and not speak to the parent(s) until further notice.

The Supervisor will prearrange with the investigative team, if a support person from the Centre can be present when the child is being interviewed. Any support person who agrees to attend the interview will be reminded by the Supervisor that she/he may be required to attend and testify in court proceedings related to the case.

If, after interviewing a child, the investigative team feels it is necessary to apprehend the child, the Supervisor/staff/students/volunteers will cooperate. The Supervisor will clarify with the investigative team as to who will be responsible for contacting the parent(s).

The Supervisor will document the names of the investigate team, the date, time, how long the authorities were at the Centre, and any relevant outcome. The documentation will be kept in a locked filing cabinet, separate from the child’s general file.

When the Children’s Aid Society or Police Conduct an Investigative Telephone Inquiry

Should a staff member receive a call from a child protection worker or police officer who calls to gather information with respect to the protection of a child, that staff person will follow the steps outlined below:

  • Ask the person on the telephone for her or his full name, telephone number and name of the agency that she/he represents. 
  • In order to ensure that the person calling is a child protection worker or a police officer, the staff member will inform the person calling that she/he will be called back immediately.

The staff member will immediately call the person back, confirming that the telephone number is that of a York Region Children’s Aid Society or the police division, and that the individual inquiring about a child is a representative of the said agency.

A staff member may answer questions posed by a child protection worker or police officer and provide information over the telephone as long as the information is related to suspicions of child abuse and the protection of the child.

The staff member is to immediately inform the Supervisor of any telephone conversations that have occurred between the staff member and a child protection worker or police officer.

The staff member will document the telephone call, including the date, time and length of the call, and the name of the child protection worker or police officer. All documentation is to be forwarded to the Supervisor to be kept in the office safe, separate from the child’s general file.

Further Consultation with a Children’s Aid Society

Further contact with a Children’s Aid Society may be initiated by a Supervisor/staff/ student/volunteer in the following circumstances:

  • A worker has not responded to the individual’s initial call or message.
  • The individual believes that the concerns reported on behalf of the child have not been fully understood by the worker, and a second opinion from a supervisor at the Children’s Aid Society is desired.
  • Any further suspicions of abuse occur.
  • Changes in the family situation or that of the alleged abuser are discovered.
  • The child or alleged abuser transfers out of the Centre.
  • The child does not return to the Centre when expected.

The Supervisor will be notified if a staff/student/volunteer re-contacts York Region Children’s Aid Society. The person who re-contacted York Region Children’s Aid Society is responsible for completing the documentation.

Confidentiality and Disclosure of Information to Others

Any information related to a suspicion or report of child abuse is confidential between the person directly involved, the person making the report and a Children’s Aid Society. The Supervisor, in consultation with a Children’s Aid Society, will give direction regarding the appropriate sharing of information with staff/students/volunteers/the operator. Discussing any information with others related to a situation of suspected child abuse outside the designated individuals is a breach of confidentiality and may leave you liable for slander.

In a case where a child has been apprehended by a Children’s Aid Society, the Supervisor will speak to a worker to determine whether or not the child will return to the Centre as scheduled.

The Supervisor will advise the staff and determine the best way to explain the child’s situation to the other children. This will be done in such a way as to balance the child’s/family’s right to confidentiality with the concerns of others in the Centre.

Students on Placement at the Centre

When a student is on placement, she/he is expected to follow the daycare’s policies and procedures regarding child abuse.

Policy Implementation

Before commencing employment staff will sign our Personal Policy acknowledging this Policy. Placement student and volunteers will be asked to sign this Policy acknowledging stating that all the policies and procedures with respect to child abuse have been read, understood and will be followed. Updated policies and procedures will be brought to the attention of all staff/students/volunteers for their advisement and signature.

Policy Review

The policies and procedures with respect to child abuse will be reviewed annually by the Supervisor and updated accordingly.

 

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